A lot of us were spanked as kids. I certainly was, and I can’t say it did me any favors. This subject remains a controversial topic with parents. Well, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released a policy statement detailing the harmful effects of corporal punishment on a developing child’s psyche.
NPR released a story on the policy statement and interviewed Dr. Jennifer Shu, pediatrician and author of Baby and Child Health: The Essential Guide from Birth to 11 Years.
"We know that the brain does not grow and develop as well once there has been physical punishment to the point where it can cause learning problems, problems with vocabulary and memory, as well as aggressive behavior," Shu said.
Verbal reprimands were found by the AAP to be detrimental to a child's health as well.
"Anything that's verbally abusive in addition to being physically abusive can change the brain architecture," Shu said. "Basically, these are adverse childhood events that can cause toxic stress that can lead to health problems as well as emotional problems as a child reaches the pre-teen and teen years."
A less harmful way to discipline children effectively would be to reward good behavior and stay consistent with expectations, Shu said.
"Some children might respond to timeouts, a minute per year of age for ages 2 to 5 basically," Shu said. "So sometimes having that timeout to take a break and regroup can help them calm down and then see why that behavior was not good."
I know there are a lot of people who hear the phrase “time out” and think of over-educated, over-privileged parents raising snowflake children. But I got walloped more than a few times as a kid and all it taught me was that I wasn’t safe from my parents. Time to learn a new way of raising kids.
If you want to see the formal announcement with Dr. Shu, check out the video below.